Michael Lavery acts in Hollywood-style ‘Italian Job’ case

April 28, 2015

Michael Lavery from Exchange Chambers has acted for one of the defendants in a case described by the media as a £1.4 million, Hollywood-style ‘Italian Job’.

Three men and a teenager were caught by police during their sting at The Thistle hotel in Manchester city centre.

Luigi Arcuri, 73; Nikolic Giuliano, 37; Antonino Ballistreri, 45, and a 17-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons, all of no fixed abode, admitted conspiracy to defraud and possession of counterfeit currency.

At Manchester Crown Court on Monday, April 20, Ballistreri, Arcuri and Giuliano were sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.

The 17-year-old, who was represented by Michael Lavery, was sentenced to 8 months detention and a training order.

In December last year, four people were stopped by border officials at the UK Control Zone, Coquelles.

Three were in an Italian registered BMW, while Ballistreri and another man were travelling in a Fiat Panda.

Inside the Fiat was a forged Swiss identity card with an image of one of the men, and 95 bundles of cash each containing 25,000 euros.

One of the men was found to be carrying a further forged Swiss identity card and a forged Swiss driving licence in the name of Marco Alberto Ferrari.

The photo on the driving licence was Ballisteri. All were arrested, interviewed and bailed pending further enquiries.

That same day, officers from GMP’s Serious Organised Crime Group became aware that men purporting to be Italian businessmen had been negotiating the purchase of jewellery worth two million euros from Rockefeller’s in Manchester city centre.


On Friday, December 19, the teenager called the jewellers to say that the money was in the country and details of the hotel would be provided ahead of an exchange the following day. He and Ballistreri were then placed under covert surveillance and monitored as they returned to the shop and finalised the deal.

They were observed going to a hotel near to the Trafford Centre before going to a supermarket where they bought a torch. A short time later the quartet were arrested at the Thistle hotel in Manchester.

They had booked a conference room and were in the process of assembling wooden furniture, which is big enough for a person to be hidden in.

Based on previous frauds that had been committed, whereby apparent legitimate currency had been exchanged for counterfeit cash that was then taken away by the unsuspecting seller, it is suspected that a member of the group would have concealed themselves in the furniture to exchange the legitimate cash for counterfeit cash during the transaction.

Inside a drawer, officers recovered 2.2 million counterfeit euros – worth around £1.44m – as well as £52,000 worth of legitimate euro notes.